Mosquito Creek Marina v. Malecek

In Docks Wharves and Marinas on (Updated )

In this matter the Defendant had moored her pleasure vessel at the Plaintiff’s marina for a number of years. During that time moorage was paid, sometimes in cash, to the marina’s bookkeeper. The bookkeeper had apparently not been recording all payments received and was fired. The new bookkeeper after reviewing the books determined the Defendant owed $15,000 in back moorage and, when the Defendant refused to pay, had her boat removed from the water as incentive for her to pay. The vessel was damaged when it was being removed from the water. The marina brought this action for the moorage allegedly owed and the Defendant counter-claimed for the damage to her vessel, loss of use during the wrongful seizure and for punitive damages. The claim for moorage was dismissed on the grounds that the marina was unable to establish any amount owing. The counter-claim for the damage to the vessel was allowed including an award for the diminution in the value of the vessel as a consequence of the damage. The counter-claim for loss of use during the wrongful seizure was also allowed in the amount of $1,000. The claim for punitive damages was, however, dismissed on the grounds that the marina believed it had some authority to remove the vessel.